Can I get by with framing on 2' centers or will I need 16" centers?

Answered by Jeffrey ~ February 23, 2010 ~ Comments

I'm building an outbuilding on my property that will be approximately 20x40 with an attic for storage, can I get by with framing on 2' centers or will I need 16" centers?

Ron ~ Hillsboro, Oregon

Jeffrey Anderson

Hi Ron, All of your exterior walls will need to be on 16" centers. All weight bearing walls should be on a maximum of 16" centers, and your exterior framed walls will be carrying the attic and roof load down to your foundation. Any openings in your exterior walls, such as windows or doors, should receive a header when you are framing, to also help distribute the weight down to the foundation.

I don't know if you are using pre-engineered attic roof trusses for the attic level, or you are planning on field framing the roof system, but you may also have some interior weight bearing walls. You will definitely have some where you frame in your stairway. Depending on how much weight you plan on storing in the attic, you may need some support for the attic floor system. If you are using attic trusses, and the bottom chord of the truss will make up the floor system, the truss company can tell you if you can clear span the 20'. if you know how much weight you will have up there, they might be able to beef up the bottom chord to accommodate a clear span.

You should also check with your local building code office there in Oregon, to make sure what I have told you meets local code, as sometimes interpretations can differ between jurisdictions.

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